65. To Diet or Not to Diet

65. To Diet or Not to Diet

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Shaping the New You

To Diet or Not to Diet

One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human.
 ~George Santayana

All of my friends are on a diet. Even my male friends. It’s either a diet to gain weight, lose weight, redistribute weight, or maintain weight. It gets so boring. The only one who is any fun is my friend’s husband who drinks light beer. That’s his idea of a diet and he is going to stick to it! His paunch has retreated just a teeny bit.

We “girls” were out the other night and discovered a place that has a separate specialty menu listing how many carbs, calories and grams of protein and fat are in each serving. It also offers a low cal dessert that closely resembles a haystack sitting on chocolate syrup with a quarter teaspoon of whipped cream on top. No cherry. No nuts. We all quietly studied the diet menu. The server stopped by three times to ask us if we were ready to order. Finally, on her fourth visit she said, “How are we doing? Don’t those low cal items sound tasty? Are we ready to order?”

I said, “Well, this ‘we’ is ready to order. I’ll have the guacamole burger with fries and a chocolate milkshake. May I please have some ranch dressing on the side?”

Furiously writing and stifling a giggle, she waited for the others to order. We had asked every imaginable question about the diet menu and believe me, guacamole burgers were not on it! There was a long silence. Everyone loosened their belts a notch and said, “To heck with the diet menu!”

“I’ll have chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes and heavy on the gravy,” announced the one with the least amount of weight to lose. Another spoke up, “Give me the cheese sticks, some French fries, some fried onions and a patty melt.” We all giggled. She didn’t really have that much weight to lose but she wanted desperately to maintain, so every time the rest of us went on a diet, she did too.

The server took our orders and we watched her gallop back to the kitchen, holding her hand over her mouth to keep from laughing out loud all the way to the chef! We actually heard a very loud, short burst of laughter from the kitchen and then muffled giggling. How rude!

We looked at each other, thumbs up and said, “Woohoo, I won’t tell if you won’t tell.” Who were we going to tell? Each other?

Just as our feast was set before us by the giggling server, our skinniest friend walked in with her skinny husband. She stopped and asked, “How are the diets going?” We told her we were celebrating because between the three of us we had lost three pounds that week. Actually, why did we even answer her? If we’d just keep our mouths shut about dieting we wouldn’t have to go through this every time someone sees us go off the wagon. We heard them order smothered pork chops and a baked potato with everything for their main course. “I bet they order dessert too,” my weight-maintaining friend muttered as we made our escape. We decided to walk two blocks to the ice cream store. We called it fitness walking! And a great way to get calcium!

~Caroline Overlund-Reid

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